Dressed to impress
With its towering skyline set against a shimmering desert, Dubai City is full of fascinating contrasts. If you’re curious about the world’s biggest – building, gold market, shopping mall – you’re in the right city. This is the place that trumped the likes of the CN Tower by building the Burj Khalifa, blew right past five-star hotels, and created the supermassive Dubai Mall – and all in the past couple of decades.
Before that, Dubai City was more sand dunes and souks than six million-square-foot shopping centres. It’s a side of the city you can still see – for a dose of culture, you’ve got some of the finest mosques in the Emirates as well as bustling spice and gold souks, and camel rides and dune buggy excursions are still a favourite with visitors.
Families have got it made in Dubai City, too, with two of the best waterparks in the world (Aquaventure and Wild Wadi) within arm’s reach.
Flight time from the UK to Dubai is approximately 6 hours 30 minutes.
Transfer time from Dubai airport to Dubai City is approximately 20 minutes.
Summers in Dubai are seriously hot – 40°C kind of hot. Although all buildings are air conditioned, outdoor activities can be uncomfortable in this kind of heat, and some may even be closed. November to April is the best time to visit Dubai; rain is scarce, and temperatures stay at a comfortable mid-20s average.
British citizens will be granted a free 30-day visa upon arrival in Dubai.
In most tourist destinations in the Emirates (such as Dubai and Ras al Khaimah), it’s customary to leave a 10% cash tip in restaurants. Small tips are appreciated for other services; aim for five to 20 UAE dirhams for porters bringing your bags to your room and for taxi drivers.
The official language of Dubai is Arabic. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.